Lockup after lockdown: Rashid predicts indiscriminate NAB sweep after Eid

Updated 17 May 2020

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Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad addresses a press conference. — DawnNewsTV/File
Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad addresses a press conference. — DawnNewsTV/File

LAHORE: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad says those enjoying life on bails or any other pretext would be taken to task by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) before July 31. He says that Shahbaz Sharif can save himself if he changes his ‘software’.

“You are seeing that opposition parties’ leaders are repeatedly asking for curtailment of NAB. But I tell you clearly that NAB will sweep till July 31, as those enjoying life on bails would be no more in such a situation,” he told journalists at his weekly press conference here at the Pakistan Railways (PR) headquarters on Saturday.

On the other hand, senior PPP leader Chaudhry Manzoor Hussain, while commenting over Sheikh Rasheed’s press conference, accused NAB of victimising opposition on the instructions of PM Imran Khan.

“We have already termed this so-called accountability drive a NAB-Niazi Gath Jorr made just to target the opposition. Actually this government is itself allegedly involved in corruption as evident from the wheat flour, sugar, IPP, drugs etc scams,” he told Dawn.

“But neither the NAB nor the courts are taking action. We also don’t see relief from courts if we approach them on this issue,” he said and added: “The courts know all this.”

While focusing the PML-N, Sheikh Rashid said Shahbaz Sharif wouldn’t be allowed to move abroad to take some papers about his case in NAB.

“This lockdown will be a lockup for Shahbaz Sharif, as he cannot save himself. But he can save himself if he changes his ‘software’, he claimed.

He said he doesn’t think that the Chaudhrys would go against the government.

“If Moonis Elahi has a meeting with Jahangir Tareen, he has right to do so. But I clearly tell you that the Chaudhrys are wise people and they will not go agaisnt the government,” he added.

The minister said the opposition looked limited to statements on media alone.

He said if the government doesn’t take action in the light of forensic report on sugar and wheat crisis, it would not be able to save it.

Talking about railways, he said the department might face default if its trains’ operations remained stopped.

“Now we have even no money to pay salaries and pensions (over Rs5 billion). And we may face default soon if the situation remains same,” he said.

He said the PR was ready to resume a limited operation within 24 hours if the government allowed it to do so.

“We have requested PM Khan to also allow us to resume railways operations since the public transport (AC buses, coaches, planes) has been opened. Let see what he decides,” the minister said.

According to PPP leader Chaudhry Manzoor, like Sheikh Rashid, PM’s assistant on accountability Shahzad Akbar continued to spoke against the opposition. “But no one is here to look into the corruption of the government in sugar, wheat and other scams. Most of sugar millers are at present sitting in the government,” he deplored.

So, he said whatever is going on against the opposition is pre-planned.

“All is pre-planned. And do you think that the courts are unaware of this,” he questioned.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2020